Dear brothers and sisters,
Peace and blessings to all in Jesus Christ!
LESSONS FROM GOD’S CREATURES
Today I had a close encounter with one of God’s special creatures. I was sitting comfortably under a shade tree with my bare feet stretched out in front of me, engrossed in a book. A couple of men were sitting at a picnic table near me. The table rests on a concrete pad which has a hollowed out space underneath it.
I was interrupted from my reverie with “You’d better hold real still, Miller.” I looked up, and about 8 feet from me was a black and white furry critter heading straight toward me. Again the advice from the picnic table, “If I was you, I’d hold read still.” I WAS me, and I felt the urge to bolt. But to extricate myself from my comfortable position meant moving fast. I was sure my approaching friend could move faster. So in the interests of self-preservation, I stayed motionless. But my heart pounded.
Mr. Skunk came right up to my bare feet, and I felt the tickle of his gentle black nose as he sniffed my feet for about 30 seconds. Then he turned tail and ambled back to his hole under the picnic table. I breathed again.
A couple of the guys joked about the smell of Miller’s feet driving the skunk away. Could be. If so, it was the first time I beat a skunk at his own game.
A lesson: Perhaps God was reminding me that it’s best to face our problems rather than run from them. Running from problems almost guarantees we’ll face them later at unexpected times. Just ask a certain relative of mine.
As a young girl, she ran behind the house to get away from an approaching skunk. Alas, she learned that a problem evaded is not a problem eliminated. Because as she rounded the far corner of the house, she encountered the same skunk. Running too fast to stop, she executed an artful leap right over the puzzled critter, who kept right on going his way.
That story has become part of the Miller family lore.
The second encounter happened as I was enjoying the camaraderie at the pavilion this evening. A fellow inmate was feeding the birds. He opened a Little Debbie snack and put some crumbs into his open hand. A lowly sparrow hopped onto his fingers and began to pluck morsels right off his hand. What struck me most was the look of great pleasure on the face of my fellow inmate as he fed that little bird a few feet from where I was sitting. It was a look full of tenderness, even love. That look of sublime pleasure reminded me that our Heavenly Father derives great pleasure in helping us, who are of “more value than many sparrows.”
How it must grieve Him when we take our eyes off His super-abundant provisions and focus on our needs and problems. That’s a sure way to sink down, as walking-on-the-water Peter would attest. Of course life is full of problems and we must face them (see skunk story above). But thank God, we can face them walking beside Him, with one hand in His and His peace in our hearts! (Isaiah 40:11b, Philippians 4:4-7)
Picture the look of pleasure on His face when we reach out to take of His provisions!
Thanks again to all of God’s people for your love and prayers,
Federal Correctional Center
P.O. Box 1000
Petersburg, VA 23804